Slater and Gordon is putting 12 fee earners in its Birmingham office at risk of redundancy.
In an internal memo seen by RollOnFriday the firm said it would "be entering a period of consultation" with the 12 staff in Birmingham who work in family, employment and crime. The memo said it was necessary to "simplify our operations and improve efficiency".
“The proposal is to relocate the work from the 12 impacted colleagues to our other locations across the UK" a Slater and Gordon spokeswoman told RollOnFriday, adding that the firm was hoping to find opportunities in other offices for the staff impacted. Although it remains to be seen how enticing it will be for staff settled in the city to uproot to another part of the country.
Brum looks likely to become solely a PI office for S&G, whose 11 PI fee earners in the office will not be affected. The firm said it would now be assessing whether to discontinue handling non-personal injury files in Birmingham.
Slater and Gordon opts to focus on its key strength
The spokeswoman added that the firm was simplifying its operations since it had developed "new digital platforms" and "moved to a structure of having specialised centres of excellence for our consumer legal services" to "provide the very best possible service to our customers."
It continues the shrinking trend of Slater and Gordon. Since 2017, it has closed offices in Chester, Wrexham, Milton Keynes and Preston. Last year it shut down Leeds with the loss of 25 fee-earners, while 100 staff at its Watford base were placed at risk of redundancy.
Slater and Gordon was awarded the 2020 Golden Turd in the RollOnFriday Firm of the Year 2020 following a tricky 12 months for Slater and Gordon's staff, who were battered by redundancies and uncertainty around the firm's disastrous acquisition of Quindell's professional services decision. Slaters sued, then settled in October hours before trial.
Many of the staff raised concerns about their job security. "As I'm over 5PQE I expect I will be made redundant soon as the firm makes more cuts", said one lawyer.
"Is there a culture?" asked one lawyer. "In the same way that a North Korean gulag has a culture then, yes, we do have a culture. A culture born out of trauma bonding".
Others at the firm have taken that bonding experience too far.